After the listening of Winston Churchill’s life, I realised he is known by many French people only through his book. So I decided to write my own book to become famous as he had been. Why should the sweetie and lovely English child be deprived of the most passionate story : My early life !
I was born a long time ago. Internet was not created, so you can easily realise how far it was, dear child ! It was a small village called Lutèce, in a maternity near the Seine , the only River crossing this small town. My father was so brave that during the delivery he fainted. But how could it be, when your fist child is exceptional. I understand this reaction! Look at me ! Not too bad ! My hairdo is all the time well done, my clothes perfectly ironed, my shoes polished, and my face, smart, isn't it ? So, what could be best !
The nuns who worked in the maternity thought how my mother was lucky with such a delicious temper. When you are older you will study one of William Shakespeare's play, "the taming of the shrew" which is a small image of what my temper will be during all my life. Unfortunately my parents didn't have a second daughter to marry...
So I was a delicious little girl ! My parents lived in a small flat where all the neighbours could appreciate my lovely voice. There was a very good sound, especially at 3 a.m. when every body was in bed. No noise could harm my concert ! Mummy was my best fan ! Some day she was so happy that she sang a bit with me, while my father was trying to get some sleep. How pleasant it was !
I began my fist walk in Avaricum where two important things would happen. The first was the purchase of a tortoise, but I couldn't remember its name. One day my father was going shopping for lunch and brought in his hand bag my new friend. My mother found the surprise delicious, mainly when she had to clean the balcony of the animal rubbish. It was like my sister for me !
The second one was the birth of my brother. An interesting time which taught me the importance to have a mother at home, mainly for dinner. At the beginning it was not too bad, I could eat biscuits when I wanted, choose the clothes to wear, like summer clothes... the trouble was that we were in December and that my stomach began to contest... then my aunt came to give me some help. Lucky me ! I couldn't have lived in the jungle of dirty clothes any longer...
When my brother came home, he experienced the same pleasure with singing, but I didn't appreciate the boy's voices and used my pillow all the evening to stop the new alarm of our flat.
It wasn't as interesting as I had expected at first. I couldn't play with him and my mother was more often with him than me... But I didn't forget my tortoise, which became then my baby. The only image I could well remember is when it was eating salad, because it did it very quickly contrary to its slow motion made me laugh so often....
The discovery of school began in Avaricum too and you imagine that it couldn't be like any child. Why ? you will see !
At first it was a very classical situation, I was screaming in the street while my mother was pulling me desperately to my new school. This melodrama finished, I played quietly in the class room and the play ground (as quiet as I could of course !).
The best was coming nearly soon...
At 4 and a half, all the children had to wait near the gate and, when we heard our name, ran to the exit and jumped in our parents' arms. But when they called my name, nobody was coming. You know why ? Try to guess... No ! No ideas ! You are disappointing me ! I'm going to help you.
But the life could be made of more serious and sad moments. One day my father decided to live alone. When you have no choice, how can you choose. He left some luggage on the floor outside the door. So, we had to leave Bourgesto go near Lugdunum in the house of my grand parents. This town was the first capital of , and in my mind it's continuing to be The Gaul's capital.
It wasn't easy at the beginning because living with three generations !
I told you how smart and charming I was, so I had met a dainty young boy during the school and when the bell had rung I had caught his hand and had passed the gate to go home. Finally my mother found me and my new friend waiting to cross the road, looking at the shop window... And you know how it ended ? For my first date my mother gave me a marvellous spanking in front of my lover ! How humiliating it was !
Our sun shine was a woman who came from . She stayed all the morning and spent a lot of time with my brother and me. She tried to teach me her own language just for fun and spoke very often of her country. She lived near the sea and there was so much sun in her story, that one day I asked her to go with her... unfortunately it never happened !
But I had to go to school again, even if it was the middle of the year and my fist lover so far away.
In the new one, all the children knew each other and I was the only one that nobody knew , so I sulked alone. It wasn't funny at all.
The house where we lived was just in front of the school, so I got home and when I heard the bell ringing, I rushed downstairs, crossed the street and tried to join the line. Sometimes, every body was in the class room when I arrived breathless, bright red cheek, a pull over in one hand and my satchel in the other. My entering did become a ritual as if at the beginning I had received many sermons.
There was another advantage. One year my class room was seen by our living room's windows, so when I was ill I could make some surprise during the lesson till the school master realised what was happening and pulled the curtain... Maybe, this can explain why I do like being in theatre.
I told you we lived in my mother's family but a lawyer decided we had, my brother and I, to spend our holiday with my father. Then, each summer we spent one month in Normandy.
I spent a lot of time with my grand-mother. But she had a very unkind habit, when she talked with other adults about chocolate or biscuits it was always in English. So, impossible to pick one without her agreement. It was a night mare ! But she forgot a thing... The Nutella ! So, when she was busy, I just had to catch a spoon, but more often my finger, put it in the pot and licked it. How funny it was !
There were some Germans near our house with a dog : a basset-hound called "At chi". It was very sociable, so sociable that, one day... during lunch time, when some holiday men were eating quietly chips and chicken it came kindly to have strokes, simulated a rest with them... and suddenly, without letting them realize what was happening... rushed on to the chicken and left them.
It became then really popular for all the kids.
Including me !
Another day its owner tried to explain him that it had to go home. First he did it in German but the dog didn't seem to understand, in fact he was so exasperated that he told him in French. The dog seemed to be so surprised that he obeyed without difficulties.
It was great !
I was used to having a lot of stories with a dog in my life. Mainly, one bit me on the cheek because an adult wanted to put me on its back. A second at the lips because I wanted to caress him when it was eating. No comment ! It was silly ! I know now ! Last when I was a young teenager which bit me on the bottom because we tried to catch some fruits in a garden. The fruits were ripe and my buttock was getting ripe too !
One summer, my family thought it could be good to learn the sailing of small boat. So, as all the children I came with my bathing-costume, a K-way and listened attentively to the first information.
The man was very friendly and invited us to lead to the beach. The weather was good for learners with the sun (in Normandy? it's pleasant !) and not too much wind. The sand was covering our feet from his heat and warmed up with delicacy the sea, which was receiving our feverish limbs. We were knee deep in the water then an adult helped us to climb in an individual sail boat. Our teacher was in a motor boat ( you will see how it would be very useful.)
Quickly I was discovering the handling of the helm, the wind puffed up the sail, the boat glided slowly to reach the open sea. The space was so wide and the weather so good. It was like a dream the infinite sea confusing the sky, the sun strewing the water with its luminosity as if a diamond garden appearing by magic in front of my dazzled eyes. The day would have been so unreal if the hard reality of the life, suddenly ! Without leaving me the time to realize, I heard the screaming of three teenagers learning to steer a bigger sail boat. The trouble was that they were unable to change their direction (not surprising all the teenager are so silly !) and the sail of my boat couldn't be as efficient as a motor. So, you imagine what happened ?
I desperately blew with my lung as loud as possible, my hands trying simulating a hypothetic rower, remembering all the prayer I had heard in my life... A tragedy ! I hope you will never have to live it ! Because the shock was really, really, really,... exceptional. No illusion, I was sinking slowly but safety, hearing so far away a motor boat coming. By luck the mast hadn't entirely disappeared when the teacher came. So, after he caught me, with a boat's piece of wood I was snatching lovingly...(it has measured 1 feet to half one ! Not bad for my first wreck !) giving a splendid scolding to my aggressors, he was trying to explain me how he was sorry and asked me to scoop the hull. It was my fist and last lesson for this year, my family trench. Of course it had never happened before and twenty years later I have asked innocently with the same answer. How horrible the life could be !
If only it could be the only adventure with the sea, but...
An other summer a cousin of mine thought it could be good for me to use his wind surf. Scheme pull on ! Here I am !
First I was supposed jump on the board and... Woops !
In fact it was a good solution to discover the pleasure of submersion !
For beginners the best is to stay up on the board and slowly stir the leg to create a small swing. Not too much difficult ! But, then I was supposed to pull up the sail with elegance and elegant it was!
After much trying finally the sail went up and stayed up. I was moving and going away brilliantly... but going back I never succeeded !
The trouble was that there were two streams in the bay. One going to and the second one to the States. A good trip in perspective ! But with so little provision ! The wind became colder and colder and my scheme not warm enough...
It was our motorman, Momo and his wife who came to save me. He was accustomed to working on oil platforms and sailed perfectly well, so with so little wind it was very easy for him to go back.
It was really a shame the water and the wind had been so cold !
After having some good fresh air, the school was calling me again. Not really for my pleasure. Mathematics, French, Biology, Physical Science and History...
For history the teacher was a small woman, very nervous, her hair dyed in blond, a small very strict suit and many shoddy jewels. Exactly the kind of teacher the teenager like to have !
During one of her lessons she was supposed to show us some slides about what ? I'm nearly sure that nobody remembers what the real purpose of that funny day was. Why it was funny ?
History is not funny at all , you say ! I will teach you the best way to learn history !
First you sit not far from your teacher and the projector. You need to have formed a team before the lesson, one of you must sit in front of her and pretend to listen, ask many questions to divert her attention. Two others need to have their bundle and their rule and be on the right and the left of our blond women... Then, action begins !
The light was off, and many smiles appeared on the faces. For a few seconds we were the must studious children, looking at the screen with admiration. Then, during one tried to find his pencil in his bundle as noisily as possible on her right, the second on the left made his rule fall down near the teacher shoes. Why near her shoes ?
Because the purpose was to know how high her heels were ! Of course it didn't happen exactly as we expected. The shoes were too far from our chair. The measure then didn't become precise. So, we needed to make more attempts, to have the best information.
But with so many tries suddenly the light was on, then quickly without thinking of the danger, she was screaming at one side the second side made the last measure ! And with the light on show exactly : 10 centimetres. Victory !
We were the best in the history lesson !
At the same time I was supposed to learn English too. But why speaking English to a woman who could speak French exactly like us ? It was silly.
So my family sent me one month in , to Wingan, not far from Manchester, Blackpool, Liverpool . I lived in a family with a little boy for baby sitting.
I was supposed to go to school in the morning and stay at home the afternoon for the boy, which let the woman have time for herself. Her husband worked all day long and came home very late. It was not so bad. The boy was very pretty and a fan of spider-man. And for the lesson... you know what I mean !
During my stay I discovered a very strange custom ! One morning, the study was so interesting that I came earlier at home. I forgot it was holiday day for the father of my little spider-boy. When I rang the bell outside, I saw in front of the window an huge gorilla coming to the door thinking speaking to his wife and grumbling after her as if she had forgotten her key.
When the door opened I made the most charming smile and a quick 'hello ! It's me Christine !' to help him realise the situation. When he heard my voice I caught a newspaper on the table and ware it like a kilt. I crossed the living room as if it was a very classical situation, went to my bed room calmly and... locked the door, pushed my bed behind it, checked if I could jump easily in the garden from my bedroom window...
I waited for more than one hour trembling until I heard the comfort woman's voice.
After that I never left the lesson earlier. Surprising ?
After this first stay in my level jumped from 2/20 to 12/20. A good performance for my mother. So I had to repeat few years later that experiment.
I was parachuted for a training period in an account service of a company making parachute. What you think about learning English in an account service ? Now I am able to reckon from 1 to 10 without difficulty ! Maybe a little more in fact !
I discovered day after day the different departments. The man who was working for human means allowed me to visit the administrative department, sales departments, the production department and the best the research department (but only the first part because after an armour door there was the last discovering, not for me.)During this stay I had to be careful with my appearance so I decided to go to the hair-dresser's. There were nobody, only me and other English costumers. A man with a big scissors came to me asking what hairdo I wanted to have. At first I declared only a cut but after few minutes of hard reflection (?) I suggested curly hair could be good too. So he did both ! But curly ?
He needed to have more precision they were many possibilities ! A nightmare. I couldn't say yet the cut was enough, every body smiling at me, I had to be sure of my decision. After hearing the many possibilities I used my account competence to say with assurance : 'the first one please !'
He seemed to be a bit surprised, asking me if I was absolutely sure. But of course I was ! What did he imagine !
If you had seen my face with the roll in the hair ! Nobody is perfect ! And then, afterwards the hair dried ! The discovering of Miss Teacher's charm !
The worst was, when I watched the glass, that I will have to pay the bill !
I had never walk in this street later. And do not ask me why !
That was one of the last adventures I had in , but unfortunately not the last with English language actually I am living a terrible adventure with Paris ' town hall. But I can't say more actually it's too early...
So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !
in memory of my great uncle Bernard Shaw 1
(1) In my dream only